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Sea-worn and mantled with the gadding vine, The sleep of ages—till a plough, a spade
Glares coldly on the streets, the skeletons,
And eager to enjoy.
Let us go round,
Receive its influence. The Cumxan towers,
There did they rise, sun-gilt; and here thy groves, When he the patriarch, who escaped the flood, Delicious Baiæ. Here (what would they not?) Was with his household sacrificing there
The masters of the earth, unsatisfied, From daybreak to that hour, the last and best, Built in the sea ; and now the boatman steers When, one by one, the fishing boats come forth, O’er many a crypt and vault yet glimmering, Each with its glimmering lantern at the prow, O’er many a broad and indestructible arch, And, when the nets are thrown, the evening hymn The deep foundations of their palaces ; Steals o'er the trembling waters.
Nothing now heard ashore, so great the change,
Everywhere Save when the sea-mew clamours, or the owl Fable and truth have shed, in rivalry,
Hoots in the temple. Each her peculiar influence. Fable came,
What the mountainous isle," And laugh'd and sung, arraying truth in flowers, Seen in the south ? 'Tis where a monster dweltet Like a young child her grandam. Fable came ; Who hurl'd his victims from the topmost cliff; Earth, sea, and sky reflecting, as she flew,
Then and then only merciful, so slow,
Fearing and feard he lived, cursing and cursed To Tartarus, and those thrice happy fields,
And still the dungeons in the rock breathe out Those fields with ether pure and purple light Darkness, distemper.—Strange, that one so vile Ever invested, scenes by him described,*
Should from his den strike terror through the world, Who here was wont to wander, record
Should, where withdrawn in his decrepitude, What they reveald, and on the western shore Say to the noblest, be they where they might, Sleeps in a silent grove, o'erlooking thee,
“ Go from the earth !" and from the earth they Beloved Parthenope.
went. Yet here, methinks,
Yet such things were—and will be, when mankind, Truth wants no ornament, in her own shape Losing all virtue, lose all energy ; Filling the mind by turns with awe and love, And for the loss incur the penalty, By turns inclining to wild ecstasy,
Trodden down and trampled. And soberest meditation.
Let us turn the prow, Here the vines
And in the track of him who went to die, Wed, each her elm, and o'er the golden grain Traverse this valley of waters, landing where Hang their luxuriant clusters, checkering
A waking dream awaits us.
At a step The sunshine ; where, when cooler shadows fall, Two thousand years roll backward, and we stand, And the mild moon her fairy net-work weaves, Like those so long within that awful place, The lute, or mandoline, accompanied
Immovable, nor asking, Can it be? By many a voice yet sweeter than their own, Once did I linger there alone, till day Kindles, nor slowly ; and the dancet displays Closed, and at length the calm of twilight came, The gentle arts and witcheries of love,
So grateful, yet so solemn! At the fount, Its hopes and fears and feignings, till the youth Just where the three ways meet, I stood and look'd, Drops on his knee as vanquish'd, and the maid,
('Twas near a noble house, the house of Pansa,) Her tambourine uplifting with a grace,
And all was still as in the long, long night Nature's and Nature's only, bids him rise.
That follow'd, when the shower of ashes fell, But here the mighty monarch underneath, When they that sought Pompeii, sought in vain ; He in his palace of fire, diffuses round
It was not to be found. But now a ray, A dazzling splendour. Here, unseen, unheard, Bright and yet brighter, on the pavement glanced, Opening another Eden in the wild,
And on the wheel-track worn for centuries, He works his wonders; save, when issuing forth And on the stepping-stones from side to side, In thunder, he blots out the sun,
O’er which the maidens, with their water-urns And, mingling all things earthly as in scorn, Were wont to trip so lightly. Full and clear, Exalts the valley, lays the mountain low,
The moon was rising, and at once reveal'd Pours many a torrent from his burning lake,
The name of every dweller, and his craft; And in an hour of universal mirth,
Shining throughout with an unusual lustre, What time the trump proclaims the festival,
And lighting up this city of the dead. Buries some capital city, there to sleep
† The tarantella.
Here lived a miller; silent and at rest
said he with a sigh-what else remained for me? His millstones now. In uld companionship -I went into the church. Still do they stand as on the day he went,
Yet many, he continued, as if to turn the converEach ready for its office—but he comes not. sation, very many have been happy, though we were And here, hard by, (where one in idleness
not; and, if I am not abusing an old man's priviHas stopt to scrawl a ship, an armed man; lege, let me tell you a story with a better catasAnd in a tablet on the wall we read
trophe. It was told to me when a boy ; and you Of shows ere long to be,) a sculptor wrought, may not be unwilling to hear it, for it bears some Nor meanly ; blocks, half chisell'd into life, resemblance to that of the Merchant of Venice. Waiting his call. Here long, as yet attests
We were now arrived at a pavilion that comThe trodden floor, an olive merchant drew
manded one of the noblest prospects imaginable ; From many an ample jar, no more replenish'd ; the mountains, the sea, and the islands illuminated And here from his a vintner served his guests by the last beams of day; and, sitting down there, Largely, the stain of his o'erflowing cups
he proceeded with his usual vivacity ; for the sadFresh on the marble. On the bench, beneath, ness, that had come across him, was gone. They sate and quaff?d, and Icok'd on them that There lived in the fourteenth century, near Bopass'd,
logna, a widow lady of the Lambertini family, Gravely discussing the last news from Rome. called Madonna Lucrezia, who in a revolution of But lo, engraven on a threshold stone,
the state had known the bitterness of poverty, and That word of courtesy, so sacred once,
had even begged her bread; kneeling day after day Hail! At a master's greeting we may enter. like a statue at the gate of the cathedral ; her rosary And lo, a fairy palace! everywhere,
in her left hand and her right held out for charity; As through the courts and chambers we advance, her long black veil concealing a face that had once Floors of mosaic, walls of arabesque,
adorned a court, and had received the homage of as And columns clustering in patrician splendour. many sonnets as Petrarch has written on Laura. But hark, a footstep! May we not intrude ? But fortune had at last relented; a legacy from And now, methinks, I hear a gentle laugh,
a distant relation had come to her relief; and she And gentle voices mingling as in converse ! was now the mistress of a small inn at the foot of -And now a harp-string as struck carelessly, the Apennines ; where she entertained as well as. And now along the corridor it comes
she could, and where those only stopped who were I cannot err, a filling as of baths !
contented with a little. The house was still stand-Ah, no, 'tis but a mockery of the sense,
ing, when in my youth I passed that way; though Idle and vain!. We are but where we were ; the sign of the White Cross, the cross of the HosStill wandering in a city of the dead !
pitallers, was no longer to be seen over the door ;
a sign which she had taken, if we may believe the XVI.
tradition there, in honour of a maternal uncle, a
grandmaster of that order, whose achievements in THE BAG OF GOLD.
Palestine she would sometimes relate. A mountain I DINE very often with the good old Cardinal *** stream ran through the garden ; and at no great and, I should add, with his cats; for they always sit distance, where the road turned on its way to Boat his table, and are much the gravest of the com- logna, stood a little chapel, in which a lamp was pany. His beaming countenance makes us forget always burning before a picture of the virgin, a his age; nor did I ever see it clouded till yesterday, picture of great antiquity, the work of some Greek when, as we were contemplating the sunset from artist. his terrace, he happened, in the course of our con Here she was dwelling, respected by all who versation, to allude to an affecting circumstance in knew her; when an event took place, which threw his early life.
her into the deepest affliction. It was at noonday He had just left the university of Palermo and in September that three foot travellers arrived, and, was entering the army, when he became acquainted seating themselves on a bench under her vine trelwith a young lady of great beauty and merit, a lis, were supplied with a flagon of Aleatico by a Sicilian of a family as illustrious as his own. lovely girl, her only child, the image her former Living near each other, they were often together ; self. The eldest spoke like a Venetian, and his and, at an age like theirs, friendship soon turns to beard was short and pointed after the fashion of love. But his father, for what reason I forget, re- Venice. In his demeanour he affected great courfused his consent to their union; till, alarmed at tesy, but his look inspired little confidence ; for the declining health of his son, he promised to op- when he smiled, which he did continually, it was pose it no longer, if, after a separation of three with his lips only, not with his eyes ; and they years, they continued as much in love as ever. were always turned from yours. His companions
Relying on that promise, he said, I set out on a were bluff and frank in their manner, and on their long journey, but in my absence the usual arts were tongues had many a soldier's oath. In their hats resorted to. Our letters were intercepted; and false they wore a medal, such as in that age was often rumours were spread-first of my indifference, then distributed in war; and they were evidently subof my inconstancy, then of my marriage with a rich alterns in one of those free bands which were alheiress of Sienna ; and, when at length I returned ways ready to serve in any quarrel, if a service it to make her my own, I found her in a convent of could be called, where a battle was little more than Ursuline nuns. She had taken the veil; and I, a mockery; and the slain, as on an opera stage,
were up and fighting to-morrow. Overcome with Now Gianetta had a lover; and he was a student the heat, they threw aside their cloaks ; and, with of the law, a young man of great promise, Lorenzo their gloves tucked under their belts, continued for Martelli. He had studied long and diligently under some time in earnest conversation.
that learned lawyer, Giovanni Andreas, who, though At length they rose to go; and the Venetians little of stature, was great in renown, and by his conthus addressed their hostess. “ Excellent lady, temporaries was called the Arch-doctor, the Rabbi may we leave under your roof, for a day or two, this of Doctors, the Light of the World. Under him he bag of gold ?” “You may,” she replied gayly. had studied, sitting on the same bench with Petrarch; “But remember, we fasten only with a latch. Bars and also under his daughter, Novella, who would and bolts we have none in our village ; and, if we often lecture to the scholars, when her father was had, where would be your security ?”
otherwise engaged, placing herself behind a small “ In your word, lady.”
curtain, lest her beauty should divert their thoughts; “ But what if I died to-night? where would it be a precaution in this instance at least unnecessary, then ?” said she, laughing. “ The money would go Lorenzo baving lost his heart to another." to the church; for none could claim it.”
To him she flies in her necessity ; but of what “ Perhaps you will favour us with an acknow- assistance can he be ? He has just taken his place at ledgment.”
the bar, but he has never spoken ; and how stand up “ If you will write it.”
alone, unpractised and unprepared as he is, against An acknowledgment was written accordingly, an array that would alarm the most experienced ?-and she signed it before Master Bartolo, the village “ Were I as mighty as I am weak," said he,“ my physician, who had just called by chance to learn fears for you would make me as nothing. But I will the news of the day; the gold to be delivered when be there, Gianetta ; and may the Friend of the applied for, but to be delivered (these were the friendless give me strength in that hour! Even now words) not to one-nor to two-but to the three; my heart fails me; but, come what will, while I have words wisely introduced by those to whom it be
a loaf to share, you and your mother shall never longed, knowing what they knew of each other. want. I will beg through the world for you.” The gold they had just released from a miser's chest
The day arrives, and the court assembles. The in Perugia ; and they were now on a scent that claim is stated, and the evidence given. And now promised more.
the defence is called forbut none is made; not a They and their shadows were no sooner departed, syllable is uttered ; and, after a pause and a consultathan the Venetian returned, saying, “Give me leave tion of some minutes, the judges are proceeding to to set my seal on the bag, as the others have done;" give judgment, silence having been proclaimed in and she placed it on a table before him. But in that the court, when Lorenzo rises and thus addresses moment she was called away to receive a cavalier, them. who had just dismounted from his horse; and, when “ Reverend signors. Young as I am, may I venshe came back, it was gone. The temptation had ture to speak before you? I would speak in behalf proved irresistible; and the man and the money had of one who has none else to help her; and I will vanished together.
not keep you long. “ Wretched woman that I am!” she cried, as in
“Much has been said ; much on the sacred paan agony of grief she fell on her daughter's neck ; ture of the obligation—and we acknowledge it in “ what will become of us? Are we again to be its full force. Let it be fulfilled, and to the last cast out into the wide world ?-Unhappy child, letter. It is what we solicit, what we require. But would that thou hadst never been born !” and all to whom is the bag of gold to be delivered? What day long she lamented; but her tears availed her says the bond ? Not to one—not to two-but to Jittle. The others were not slow in returning to the three. Let the three stand forth and claim it.” claim their due; and there were no tidings of the
From that day, (for who can doubt the issue?) thief: he had fled far away with his plunder. A
none were sought, none employed, but the subtle, process against her was instantly begun in Bologna ; the eloquent Lorenzo. Wealth followed fame ; nor and what defence could she make?-how release need I say how soon he sat at his marriage feast, herself from the obligation of the bond? Wilfully or who sat beside him. or in negligence she had parted with it to one, when
XVII. she should have kept it for all, and inevitable ruin awaited her!
A CHARACTER. “Go, Gianetta,” said she to her daughter,“ take One of two things Montrioli may have, this veil, which your mother has worn and wept My envy or compassion. Both he cannot. under so often, and implore the counsellor Calderino Yet on he goes, numbering as miseries, to plead for us on the day of trial. He is generous, What least of all he would consent to lose, and will listen to the unfortunate. But, if he will / What most, indeed, he prides himself upon, not, go from door to door ; Monaldi cannot refuse us. And, for not having, most despises me. Make haste, my child; but remember the chapel as " At morn the minister exacts an hour ; you pass by it. Nothing prospers without a prayer.” At noon the king. Then comes the council board;
Alas, she went, but in vain. These were retained against them; those demanded more than they had * Ce pourroit être, says Bayle, la matière d'un joli to give; and all bade them despair. What was to probleme : on pourroit examiner si cette fille avançoit,
ou si elle retardoit le profit de ses auditeurs, en leur cabe done? No advocate; and the cause to come on
chant son beau visage. Il y auroit cent choses à dire pour to-morrow!
et contre là-dessus.
And then the chase, the supper. When, ah! when, Nature reveal'd herself. Unveil'd she stood, The leisure and the liberty I sigh for ?
In all her wildness, all her majesty, Not when at home; at home a miscreant crew, As in that elder time, ere man was made. That now no longer serve me, mine the service. There would I linger-then go forth again ; And then that old hereditary bore,
And he who steers due east, doubling the cape,
May tell him what it is; but what it was
The time has been,
“What ships are from Amalfi?” when her coins, But to the wise how precious every day Silver and gold, circled from clime to clime; A little life, a blank to be inscribed
From Alexandria southward to Sennaar, With gentle deeds, such as in after-time
And eastward, through Damascus and Cabul Console, rejoice, whene'er we turn the leaf And Samarcand, to thy great wall, Cathay. To read them? All, wherever in the scale
Then were the nations by her wisdom sway'd ; Have, be they high or low, or rich or poor, And every crime on every sea was judged Inherit they a sheep-hook or a sceptre,
According to her judgments. In her port Much to be grateful for ; but most has he, Prows strange, uncouth, from Nile and Niger met, Born in that middle sphere, that temperate zone, People of various feature, various speech ; Where knowledge lights his lamp, there most secure, And in their countries many a house of prayer, And wisdom comes, if ever, she who dwells And many a shelter, where no shelter was, Above the clouds, above the firmament,
And many a well, like Jacob's in the wild, That seraph sitting in the heaven of heavens. Rose at her bidding. Then in Palestine,
What men most covet, wealth, distinction, power, By the way-side, in sober grandeur stood Are baubles nothing worth, that only serve An hospital, that, night and day, received To rouse us up, as children in the schools The pilgrims of the west; and, when 'twas ask'd, Are roused up to exertion. The reward
“Who are the noble founders ?” every tongue Is in the race we run, not in the prize;
At once replied, “ The merchants of Amalfi.” And they, the few, that have it ere they earn it, That hospital, when Godfrey scaled the walls, Having by favour or inheritance,
Sent forth its holy men in complete steel ; These dangerous gifts placed in their idle hands, And hence, the cowl relinquish'd for the helm, And all that should await on worth well tried, That chosen band, valiant, invincible, All in the glorious days of old reserved
So long renown'd as champions of the cross, For manhood most mature or reverend age, In Rhodes, in Malta. Know not, nor ever can, the generous pride
For three hundred years, That glows in him who on himself relies,
There, unapproach'd but from the deep, they dwelt; Entering the lists of life.
Assail'd for ever, yet from age to age
Acknowledging no master. From the deep
They gather'd in their harvests; bringing home, SORRENTO.
In the same ship, relics of ancient Greece, He who sets sail from Naples, when the wind That land of glory where their fathers lay, Blows fragrance from Posllipo, may soon, Grain from the golden vales of Sicily, Crossing from side to side that beautiful lake, And Indian spices. When at length they fell, Land underneath the cliff, where once among Losing their liberty, they left mankind The children gathering shells along the shore, A legacy, compared with which the wealth One laugh'd and play'd, unconscious of his fate ;* of eastern kings—what is it in the scale ?His to drink deep of sorrow, and, through life, The mariner's compass. To be the scorn of them that knew him not,
They are now forgot, Trampling alike the giver and his gift,
And with them all they did, all they endured, The gist a pearl precious, inestimable,
Struggling with fortune. When Sicardi stood, A lay divine, a lay of love and war,
And, with a shout like thunder, cried, “ Come forth, To charm, ennoble, and, from age to age,
And serve me in Salerno !” forth they came, Sweeten the labour, when the oar was plied Covering the sea, a mournful spectacle ; Or on the Adrian or the Tuscan sea.
The women wailing, and the heavy oar There would I linger-then go forth again, Falling unheard. Not thus did they return, And hover round that region unexplored,
The tyrant slain ; though then the grass of years Where to Salvator (when, as some relate,
Grew in their streets. By chance or choice he led a bandit's life,
There now to him who sails Yet oft withdrew, alone and unobserved,
Under the shore, a few white villages,
Some on the margin of the dark blue sea,
And glittering through their lemon groves, announce
The region of Amalfi. Then, half-fallen, Suckles her young: and, as alone I stand
In this, the nobler pile, the elements
How solemn is the stillness! Nothing stirs
On the rough pediment to sit and sing ;
Or the green lizard rustling through the grass, XIX.
And up the fluted shaft with short quick motion, PÆSTUM.
To vanish in the chinks that time has made. THEY stand between the mountains and the sea;
In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk Awful memorials, but of whom we know not !*
Seen at his setting, and a flood of light The seaman, passing, gazes from the deck. Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries, The buffalo driver, in his shaggy cloak,
(Gigantic shadows, broken and confused, Points to the work of magic and moves on.
Across the innumerable columns flung,) Time was they stood along the crowded street,
In such an hour he came, who saw and told, Temples of gods ! and on their ample steps
Led by the mighty genius of the place.* What various habits, various tongues beset
Walls of some capital city first appear'd, The brazen gates for prayer and sacrifice !
Half razed, half sunk, or scatter'd as in scorn ; Time was perhaps the third was sought for justice;
- And what within them? what but in the midst And here the accuser stood, and there the accused; These three in more than their original grandeur, And here the judges sate, and heard, and judged.
And, round about, no stone upon another? All silent now as in the ages past,
As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear, Trodden under foot and mingled, dust with dust. And, turning, left them to the elements.
How many centuries did the sun go round 'Tis said a stranger in the days of old, From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea, (Some say a Dorian, some a Sybarite ; While, by some spell render'd invisible,
But distant things are ever lost in clouds,) Or, if approachd, approach'd by him alone 'Tis said a stranger came, and, with his plough Who saw as though he saw not, they remain'd
Traced out the site; and Posidonia rose, As in the darkness of a sepulchre,
Severely great, Neptune the tutelar god; Waiting the appointed time! All, all within A Homer's language murmuring in her streets, Proclaims that nature had resumed her right,
And in her haven many a mast from Tyre. And taken to herself what man renounced ;
Then came another, an unbidden guest. No cornice, triglyph, or worn abacus,
He knock'd and enter'd with a train in arms; But with thick ivy hung or branching fern ;
And all was changed, her very name and language. Their iron-brown o’erspread with brightest verdure! The Tyrian merchant, shipping at his door
From my youth upward have I longed to tread Ivory and gold, and silk, and frankincense, This classic ground—And am I here at last ?
Sail'd as before, but sailing, cried, “ For Pæsturn!” Wandering at will through the long porticoes,
And now a Virgil, now an Ovid sung And catching, as through some majestic grove,
Pæstum's twice-blowing roses ; while, within, Now the blue ocean, and now, chaos-like,
Parents and children mourn'd—and every year Mountains and mountain gulfs, and, halfway up, ('Twas on the day of some old festival) Towns like the living rock from which they grew? Met to give way to tears, and once again, A cloudy region, black and desolate,
Talk'd in the ancient tongue of things gone by.t Where once a slave withstood a world in arms.t At length an Arab climb'd the battlements,
The air is sweet with violets, running wild Slaying the sleepers in the dead of night; 'Mid broken friezes and fallen capitals ;
And from all eyes the glorious vision fled ! Sweet as when Tully, writing down his thoughts, Leaving a place lonely and dangerous, Those thoughts so precious and so lately lost, Where whom the robber spares, a deadlier foe (Turning to thee, divine philosophy,
Strikes at unseen-and at a time when joy Ever at hand to calm his troubled soul,)
Opens the heart, when summer skies are blue, Sail'd slowly by, two thousand years ago,
And the clear air is soft and delicate ; For Athens; when a ship, if north-east winds For then the demon works then with that air Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slack'd her course. The thoughtless wretch drinks in a subtle poison On as he moved along the level shore,
Lulling to sleep; and, when he sleeps, he dies. These temples, in their splendour eminent
But what are these still standing in the midst? Mid arcs and obelisks, and domes and towers, The earth has rock'd beneath ; the thunder-stone Reflecting back the radiance of the west,
Pass'd through and through, and left its traces there, Well might he dream of glory!-Now, coild up
Yet still they stand as by some unknown charter ! The serpent sleeps within them; the she-wolf 0, they are nature's own! and, as allied
To the vast mountains and the eternal sea,
They want no written history ; theirs a voice * The temples of Pæstum are three in number; and For ever speaking to the heart of man ! have survived, nearly nine centuries, the total destruc. tion of the city. Tradition is silent concerning them; but they must have existed now between two and three thou * They are said to have been discovered by accident sand years.
about the middle of the last century. + Spartacus. See Plutarch in the life of Crassuge † Athenæus, xiv,